At the beginning of this year we pitted four 5-megapixel cameras against one another in our LG Viewty was one of the weaker performers in this group; it struggled to focus sharply and the Xenon flash robbed the pictures of natural colour, casting a blue light over the subjects. When we heard about the 8-megapixel Renoir we had our reservations. Would it simply take larger poor quality photos? The results have been surprising.. During this we noted that the
Named, we assume, after the French impressionist, this latest touchscreen from LG is slick and sturdy, but a bit utilitarian in its design to be called a work of art. Its body is formed mostly from plastic with curved reflective metal edges. The centre piece is a 3-inch 240x400-pixel resolution touchscreen display, which we've found sharp and colourful and extremely easy to use.
Above the screen we find a front-facing camera for video calls and below the display are three soft-keys for calling and accessing application shortcuts. Along the right-side edge of the Renoir are four keys, a volume rocker, a dedicated camera key and a handset lock.
The underside of the phone houses the Schneider-Kreuznach camera lens and LED flash. We were glad to see the camera has a lens cover, activated by a switch where you might expect to find a focus ring around the lens.
The Renoir uses a proprietary LG platform, very similar to the interface we saw on the Viewty last year. The Renoir is extremely touch-friendly, the whole interface is designed with fingers in mind.
You're going to need to be sitting for this one: the Renoir features an 8-megapixel (MP) camera. By this time next year 8MP shooters may be eye-rollingly passè, but considering this is the first we've had the opportunity to review we've been tremendously eager to put it to the test.
The camera software for the Renoir features an extensive range of settings and modes, similar to the Viewty and what you'd expect to find on stand-alone point-and-shoot cameras. There's the obligatory auto-focus, but this is matched with face and blink detection, macro shooting mode, digital image stabilisation and adjustable image sensitivity.
The Renoir is also capable of shooting video at 120 frames per second, effectively creating videos which play back at four-times slow motion. While this looks great written on a spec sheet, this is a feature we are still struggling to find a place for in our lives — YouTube quality videos of our friends are arduous to watch at a normal speed, let alone in extreme slow motion.
The Renoir also makes quite a handy portable media player supporting MP3 and AAC music formats and MP4, DivX and XviD video formats. The only let-down here is no 3.5mm headphone port for plugging in your favourite headphones, although, the Renoir does include a 3.5mm headphone adaptor and supports TV-out for viewing your massive photos on the big screen. With all this fantastic media capability it's a shame the Renoir doesn't have sizeable internal memory like several of its main competitors.